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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 07:32 am
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beejmi
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Which will be bigger in the US?

Baseball ? Or soccer?

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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 10:04 am
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Dr. Strangelove



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Was soccer ever big in US?

I am not trying to sound like a smartass because I never watch soccer and have never seen it getting any kind of popularity in the US. I don't really watch baseball either except for the playoffs but even if baseball lose popularity it will always be more popular than soccer.

Last edited on Tue Jun 16th, 2020 10:07 am by Dr. Strangelove

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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 10:11 am
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kargol



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Baseball, there are far more matches and it's starting from a much higher base.

Soccer's real competition is American football. Same sort of structure with fewer games and them being one-offs rather than a series. Plus soccer is less a summer sport than baseball.

American football has serious problems long-term with concussions. Parents are far more willing to have their kids play soccer than gridiron. I'm guessing that the thing that is rescuing gridiron at the moment is the scholarships for college sports that are a way out for poorer kids. And that's thanks to entrenched wealth from gridiron supporters. That will last a while, but how long before the attention switches...



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 10:18 am
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kargol



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Dr. Strangelove wrote: Was soccer ever big in US?

I am not trying to sound like a smartass because I never watch soccer and have never seen it getting any kind of popularity in the US.
MLS attendances are fairly stable.  They go from a high of 52,000 (Atlanta) to a low of 12,000 (Chicago).  The average has been over 20,000 for the last five years.  The median though is a low 19,000. 

Then again, nearly every stadium is 90% full for the matches.  So there's demand.
And it compares well with an average MLB attendance of 28,000, but baseball has the advantage of far more matches.  It compares a lot less well to the NFL of 66k, but I think NFL has greater risks - something like a strike or television revenue collapse could affect that much more.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 12:25 pm
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beejmi
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You have to forecast a decline in baseball to get there as well as an increase in soccer's popularity.

I personally don't think in our lifetimes we'll see soccer surpass baseball in the US

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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 12:45 pm
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kargol



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It won't take much in terms of average crowds; two or three thousand here or there. New franchises coming into MLS over the next few years will help, they're in sports-starved areas (Austin, Charlotte).

It will of course be nowhere near the total amounts, but how many different people does the total attendance represent? In an average 20k crowd at my team in England, about 12-13k will be season ticket holders, so will be at more or less every match; and most of the home crowd (away fans will be 500-2,000 mostly) will go to most games. So there will be around 40,000 different home fans over a season.

If the 28,000 baseball average is the same 28,000, then the overall total suddenly looks a lot more meagre. But given how long each match lasts, and how many matches there are, I assume there are a lot of people who only go rarely.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 03:34 pm
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Erick Von Erich

 

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The key to the question is professionally or just in overall participation? If "professionally", it will be baseball.

They've been saying: "watch out for soccer" since the 70's. Pro soccer was trying to get established and everyone said: "all these little kids playing soccer, now? Wait until they grow up! Soccer's gonna' be huge in the 80's"

(Pro) Soccer still isn't huge in the US. Yes, almost every little kid has played it, sometime over the past 40-45 years. At a park, a gym, school, organized youth leagues, etc. Compare that to baseball, which isn't as popular; or played as much; amongst American youth.

But then high school comes along. The US high school system has traditionally emphasized football...which is when the kids playing soccer have their bubble burst, get left out, or have to pick a different sport. Yes, there have been efforts, as far back as the early 90's, to have a Soccer Homecoming Game... but it's usually because the football team sucks.

College sports then become high school sports, but amplified. Quick (without Googling it), tell me how Alabama's soccer program is doing. I have no problem with colleges and universities supporting and funding soccer, but it will never be "big time" to outsiders (that is: people who don't attend the college or university...and their families). That hurts soccer's overall popularity and makes it look like a lesser sport.

The bigger problem is that "good" soccer players don't go pro. I have a close friend who used to play for the Local Professional Soccer Team for a few seasons... yet without prodding he will tell you that the level of talent isn't there. In the late-90's, I had a co-worker who told me the same thing. So my theory is that your time to excel at soccer expires around age 21.

A good case would be former MLB shortstop Jack Wilson. By all accounts, he loved soccer and excelled at it, growing up. Then he got to high school and switched to baseball because that's where the money was.
https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/childhood-playing-soccer-prepared-jack-wilson-for-a-career-in-the-major-leagues/



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 04:17 pm
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Married Jo



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Erick Von Erich wrote: The key to the question is professionally or just in overall participation? If "professionally", it will be baseball.

They've been saying: "watch out for soccer" since the 70's. Pro soccer was trying to get established and everyone said: "all these little kids playing soccer, now? Wait until they grow up! Soccer's gonna' be huge in the 80's"

(Pro) Soccer still isn't huge in the US. Yes, almost every little kid has played it, sometime over the past 40-45 years. At a park, a gym, school, organized youth leagues, etc. Compare that to baseball, which isn't as popular; or played as much; amongst American youth.

But then high school comes along. The US high school system has traditionally emphasized football...which is when the kids playing soccer have their bubble burst, get left out, or have to pick a different sport. Yes, there have been efforts, as far back as the early 90's, to have a Soccer Homecoming Game... but it's usually because the football team sucks.

College sports then become high school sports, but amplified. Quick (without Googling it), tell me how Alabama's soccer program is doing. I have no problem with colleges and universities supporting and funding soccer, but it will never be "big time" to outsiders (that is: people who don't attend the college or university...and their families). That hurts soccer's overall popularity and makes it look like a lesser sport.

The bigger problem is that "good" soccer players don't go pro. I have a close friend who used to play for the Local Professional Soccer Team for a few seasons... yet without prodding he will tell you that the level of talent isn't there. In the late-90's, I had a co-worker who told me the same thing. So my theory is that your time to excel at soccer expires around age 21.

A good case would be former MLB shortstop Jack Wilson. By all accounts, he loved soccer and excelled at it, growing up. Then he got to high school and switched to baseball because that's where the money was.
https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/childhood-playing-soccer-prepared-jack-wilson-for-a-career-in-the-major-leagues/

Great post. Yep, I've heard since the 80's "In 10 years Soccer is going to be huge in the US" and 30+ years have passed and it's SLIGHTLY bigger than it was then..



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 05:09 pm
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kargol



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Erick Von Erich wrote: (Pro) Soccer still isn't huge in the US. Yes, almost every little kid has played it, sometime over the past 40-45 years. At a park, a gym, school, organized youth leagues, etc. Compare that to baseball, which isn't as popular; or played as much; amongst American youth.

That's in part because of the vested interests of the media.  My first visit to the States was in 1990 and I was amazed how little coverage NASCAR got.  I was told at Daytona that it was because all the hacks grew up watching gridiron and baseball, so they go and watch gridiron and baseball, and write about it.  On top of which, the editors were all tight with the people at the top of gridiron and baseball, and they didn't want to upset the applecart.  There was nobody covering NASCAR unless someone died.
A decade later it was totally different.   Possibly the Jeff Gordon effect as that brought in new fans - and reinforced the older fans.  I suppose the wrestling equivalent would have been Luger coming into WCW.  Young fans got on his side, the traditionalists basically treated Flair as a face.  But it meant that reporters who started reporting on NASCAR in 1993-4 had moved into more prominent positions a few years later and could get the media space.

But NASCAR was not selling any more tickets for the races.  They were selling out in 1990. 

So you're not going to get as much mainstream coverage for soccer because the generation who is reporting on it is not in a position of power - yet.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 06:02 pm
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kargol wrote: Erick Von Erich wrote:

But NASCAR was not selling any more tickets for the races.  They were selling out in 1990. 

Uhh, what? Hell yes they were. Nascar was selling TONS more tickets up until prob 10-12 years ago.  They were selling out in 1990 when a track had 40k seats, then by 2001 or so that same track had 80-100K seats and they were selling them out..



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 06:50 pm
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tamalie
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Regarding NASCAR's attendance issues, new tracks were built too big and existing ones overbuilt on new seats when renovating as the NASCAR boom peaked around the early to mid 2000s. The supply/demand equation got distorted by the excess capacity. Tickets were no longer prized commodities. Fans that had season tickets to both events at tracks with two races, because that was the only way to get decent seats or get seats at all, found such a purchase unnecessary. More than a few fans that attended historic tracks became alienated by NASCAR constantly tinkering with the schedule starting around just before the boom started to fall off. Some historic tracks were eliminated. Some went from two races to one. Meanwhile a number of races switched from longstanding annual weekends to new ones that fans didn’t like due to everything from cooler or hotter weather, conflicts with other parts of their lives, conflicts with March Madness or the NFL, and just because it was different. Too many of these changes were made solely in pursuit of revenue with absolutely no corresponding attention paid to the paying customers’ needs and desires.


I also think the TV coverage with HD pictures, the different camera angles, and the improved statistics has made watching at home so much more comfortable and easy that it has discouraged many fans from attending live. As an extension of that last point, attending NASCAR live is a major undertaking. Many of the tracks are in the middle of nowhere with poor road access (often of a one way in, one way out variety). Atlanta, Martinsville, Bristol, New Hampshire, and Kentucky all fit this description among others. So newer fans would go once or twice, get stuck in traffic, not feel enthusiastic about the camping due to the often less than family friendly atmosphere, and decide to either not go back at all or to make it a once every few years trip instead of annual one. I think to get back to having some buzz, NASCAR needs tracks to reduce capacity, to improve amenities for regular fans not just the premium seating fans, to get some two race tracks down to one and vice versa, and to set the schedule with a regard for what fans want and then leave it that way while also getting ticket prices more in line with what its demographic can and will pay.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 07:52 pm
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tamalie wrote: Regarding NASCAR's attendance issues, new tracks were built too big and existing ones overbuilt on new seats when renovating as the NASCAR boom peaked around the early to mid 2000s. The supply/demand equation got distorted by the excess capacity. Tickets were no longer prized commodities. Fans that had season tickets to both events at tracks with two races, because that was the only way to get decent seats or get seats at all, found such a purchase unnecessary. More than a few fans that attended historic tracks became alienated by NASCAR constantly tinkering with the schedule starting around just before the boom started to fall off. Some historic tracks were eliminated. Some went from two races to one. Meanwhile a number of races switched from longstanding annual weekends to new ones that fans didn’t like due to everything from cooler or hotter weather, conflicts with other parts of their lives, conflicts with March Madness or the NFL, and just because it was different. Too many of these changes were made solely in pursuit of revenue with absolutely no corresponding attention paid to the paying customers’ needs and desires.


Eh..those new seats were added because people wanted to attend. It was only after the downturn in attendance did they realize "Man, this looks bad" and start pulling seats out. Just to point it out, I pulled up the Bristol 1990 race and it's attendance was 58,200. Fifteen years later the same race at Bristol sold out at 160,000. Nascar has been in a downturn since then and they dont' report attendance the last few yeaars but I'd imagine 2-3 years ago Bristol which looked empty on TV had around 58,000 at the night race.
I'm just pointing all this out just to prove Kargol's post wrong, Nascar's popularity explosion in the early 90's absolutely DID sell a SHITLOAD of tickets to the actual races..I know, I was there in the 80's and I was there in the 90's when we were packed like sardines in the stands, it was amazing to see..



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Well, Im of the opinion that one wouldnt actually have to eat the corn out of Chynas shit to know that nothing good could come of it. - Portalesman
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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 07:55 pm
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kargol



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There are all sorts of things NASCAR did to eff everything up. The biggest was The Chase. Things like Kulwicki winning the title at the last race were special because they were rare. And NASCAR then turned the first two-thirds of the season into a qualifying session.

Third generation syndrome. Tony Hulman - Mari Hulman - Tony George. Bill France Sr - Bill France Jr - Brian France. Third generations utterly fucking up American motor racing with their cretinous idiocy.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 07:57 pm
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kargol



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Married Jo wrote:
I'm just pointing all this out just to prove Kargol's post wrong, Nascar's popularity explosion in the early 90's absolutely DID sell a SHITLOAD of tickets to the actual races..I know, I was there in the 80's and I was there in the 90's when we were packed like sardines in the stands, it was amazing to see..
You're proving my post RIGHT.  As I said, NASCAR races were selling out in 1990.  But the media ignored it.  Those races at tracks that could not or did not add more seats were selling the same numbers of tickets when the media were all over NASCAR.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2020 07:58 pm
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OH! Let me add, yes, the TV coverage absolutely has hurt live attendance. I'm proof of that, at least up until the last 2 years when I've sort of stopped watching. Last race I physically attended was Charlotte in 2010, it was much easier to sit in my air conditioned house with my big TV and comfortable chair and watch them..also didn't hurt that for $25 a season I could buy the driver audio just like listening to my scanner at the track..



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Well, Im of the opinion that one wouldnt actually have to eat the corn out of Chynas shit to know that nothing good could come of it. - Portalesman
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